One of the key pieces of the puzzle of the New England Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) is the transmission infrastructure to get the power from the wind and solar farms into homes and businesses elsewhere. This week the NSW Government has begun consultation with key stakeholders, including local government and those who own property along the proposed transmission corridor.
A preliminary study corridor for the transmission lines will be approximately 1km wide and will be refined as a result of community consultation undertaken by the NSW Government. The identification of a preliminary corridor follows extensive planning processes and consideration of community and stakeholder feedback received since 2021, together with detailed technical studies and site visits.
The preliminary corridor seeks to balance land use planning, community, environmental and technical considerations. It also maximises opportunities to co-locate easements to parallel existing transmission lines.
The consultation currently being undertaken will help to improve EnergyCo’s understanding of opportunities and issues within the corridor. Consultation will include a series of engagement activities with selected stakeholders from May to July 2023, which will provide information on the proposed study area, the infrastructure to be built and how this has been developed to date. Broader public consultation is expected at a later stage of the project.
NSW Minister for Energy Penny Sharpe said community input is essential to the success of this project.
“The New England REZ is essential to the transformation of NSW’s electricity system.”
“We need to make sure that the community understands and has input into its development.”
“This project will deliver jobs and a major economic boost to the people of New England, with an injection of up to $10.7 billion in private sector investment and support 2000 jobs during construction and operation,” Minister Sharpe said.
EnergyCo will work closely with individual landowners to address any concerns, and provide opportunities for stakeholders to provide feedback on beneficial community and employment opportunities in the New England REZ. They are also currently preparing a range of materials to distribute to communities in the region to help build an understanding of what this means for them.
Not-for-profit Community Power Agency is also working in the region to connect local people to the right information, building the capacity of locals to know what an excellent transition can look like.
“We’re keen to see the NSW Government roll out information about preliminary transmission corridors for the New England REZ and start this stage of the consultation process,” said Heidi McElnea, a New England based Engagement Coordinator with Community Power Agency.
“We encourage people in the area to get involved – it’s a window of opportunity.”
“Communities have an innate knowledge of their local area, and we all need to work together to find the best ways to balance planning, people and the environment, as well as the technical aspects,” Ms McElnea said.
The New England REZ is one of five zones identified across the State to connect new renewable energy generation to electricity consumers as part of the Government’s Roadmap to replace retiring coal-fired power stations and modernise our electricity system.
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